Weather records tumble over sweltering Christmas in Geraldton

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Families took to the beach to cool off during Geraldton's hottest ever Christmas period.
Camera IconFamilies took to the beach to cool off during Geraldton's hottest ever Christmas period. Credit: Edward Scown

It was a record-breaking six-day heatwave that pushed Geraldton and its air-conditioners to the limits. But despite the scorching hot spell during Christmas and New Year, overall Geraldton’s December heat was only slightly above average.

A low pressure trough off the WA coast brought easterly winds across the hot interior in the final weeks of December, hitting coastal towns with record-breaking temperatures.

Geraldton Airport recorded 47.3C at 12.12pm on Christmas Day, shattering the city’s previous Christmas Day record of 44C in 1915 — as well as surpassing the hottest December day on record, previously 46.8C on Boxing Day 1997.

Officially, that high of 47.3C saw Geraldton crowned hottest place in Australia. However, shire signs in Northampton and Kalbarri were reading temperatures in excess of 50C.

The only hotter day on record is January 9, 1954, when residents sweltered through 47.7C.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, on average, Geraldton has 1.5 days above 40C in December. This year we had seven.

The six-day streak — from December 24 to 29 — is Geraldton’s longest heatwave on record for December and the second longest ever, only beaten by a seven-day stretch in February 1985.

It did set an all-time record for the Bureau’s Geraldton Airport weather station, which only went live in 2011.

The last time Geraldton got close to the record streak was December 2019, when five days in a row — from December 11 to 15 — temperatures soared above 40C, with the highest hitting 43.9C.

Despite the late temperature surge, the average maximum for December was 32.2C.

This is comfortably above Geraldton’s mean December maximum of 29.6C, but relatively normal for the past 10 years — with an average high of 31.4C — and short of the highest ever December average of 33C in 2009.

For 15 days between December 8 and 22, the mercury didn’t crack 30C.



Friday, December 24: 44.0C

Saturday, December 25: 47.3C

Sunday, December 26: 44.7C

Monday, December 27: 43.8C

Tuesday, December 28: 43.7C

Wednesday, December 29: 41.9C

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